Tell the story the way it tells you…
Sometimes your hook may come right at the beginning, other times, it may come when you’re done with the manuscript… possibly even after you’ve submitted it.
I think when it comes to the technicalities of how to write a hook, different authors have different preferences.
A hook, for those unaware, is basically a sentence (or a group of sentences) that draws your readers in to reading your work.
Based on this, I personally prefer to begin with a captivating sentence and/or add my hook within the first two paragraphs.
This way, a promise is made right at the beginning and the anticipation of the promise fulfilled keeps the readers engaged.
Three ways you can do this:
a). Create curiosity.
Let your first sentence/ paragraph make readers curious. Intrigue them. Your first line should generate questions that lead them to read your book/story for the answers to.
b). Connect emotionally.
If your words can stir up feelings in your readers, more often than not, they will stay connected and stick with the story till the end.
c). Introduce a character.
I’m a sucker for this personally. I read a book beginning with a perculiar character and I can’t help but read on to discover more about them… two of my personal favourites are:
“There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it.”
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, C. S. Lewis
“Kell wore a very peculiar coat.”
A Darker Shade of Magic, V.E. Schwab
There are in fact a number of other ways to write a great first sentence hook but I think it best for each author to practice and find what works best for them… I also think it’s important not to neglect the story and what it wants to do… let the story tell you.
So, to answer the question, sometimes my story is born from a sentence, such as:
“I died a thousand times that day.”
Jenée, Xyvah Okoye & Chiedozie Omeje
Other times, I’ve gone half way through my manuscript before returning to rewrite the first paragraph.
To be honest 🙈 there was a case where I finished the manuscript completely and ended up getting my hook in on my second edit of it.
🤷🏽♀️ it all depends on what works for you. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to do it right the first time. It will come when it’s ready… let the story tell you.